Social Security Disability

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin has helped thousands of injured North Carolinians with potential claims including Social Security, auto accidents, Workers' Compensation, personal injury and product liability. In particularly complicated cases like car and work injuries, or any situation that leaves a person permanently disabled, it’s not uncommon for us to coordinate and represent all of them.

We take pride in representing each and every client, particularly in light of North Carolina’s excessive Social Security Disability hearing wait times and long history of case denials. With an average hearing wait time of over 21 months, North Carolina Disability offices have some of the longest wait times in the country. As if waiting all that time isn’t bad enough, once claimants finally get an initial hearing, more than two-thirds are denied. And more than 85% of those filing a second time are denied!

That doesn’t stop us from persevering to try to get our clients what they may deserve in our efforts to help ease their financial burdens.

Nearly every person on our team has prior Social Security Disability experience from having worked inside the Social Security Administration.

We know from firsthand inside experience how the system works, what they look for to accept a claim, the importance of filing the correct forms and meeting strict deadlines, and what medical records to present.

Meet Our Social Security Disability Team

Attorney Rick Fleming

Attorney Fleming is a firm shareholder and head of our Social Security Disability department. He is a NC Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability law – a claim only 47 out of the more than 28,000 North Carolina licensed attorneys can make1. Mr. Fleming is fluent in Spanish and takes pride in representing North Carolina’s Hispanic/Latino community – a culture he admires. He is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, and the U.S. district courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina. As chair of the N.C. State Bar's Social Security Disability Law Specialty Committee and an active member of many other advocacy organizations, Mr. Fleming is a tireless advocate for our clients and others outside our offices whose voices may otherwise go unheard.

Attorney Crystal Rouse

Attorney Rouse is an experienced attorney who also has more than eight years of experience as a Social Security Disability Determination Services Examiner. She was named “Rising Star2” by North Carolina Super Lawyers in 2015, 2016, and 2017. No more than 2.5% of lawyers in any one state are named Rising Stars. An advocate for other attorneys as well as clients, Rouse co-chairs the continuing legal education section for the New Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, winning their “Order of Service” award in 2016. She has also been a featured speaker at numerous continuing legal education courses for attorneys and is active in other advocacy organizations.

Danielle Blakely

Danielle Blakely lived overseas for the first 18 years of her life as the daughter of two Department of Defense teachers on military bases. She subsequently graduated from UNC-Greensboro with a B.A. in political science and a concentration in law. While attending college, she was campaign manager to a congressional hopeful. After graduating, Ms. Blakely furthered her education in criminal justice and elementary education. She worked at the Department of Corrections before joining the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.

“Trying to get social security disability benefits is often a long and frustrating process that is confusing to a lot of people. I feel privileged to work with each member of this team to help our clients in their fight to get approved for benefits.”

Cameron Boyette

Before he became a paralegal working with Social Security Disability clients, Cameron Boyette spent six years as a Disability Determination Services examiner for the Social Security Administration. He was in the trenches as one who would help determine the merits of initial applications for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). So he knows firsthand what administrative bureaucrats look for to approve a case.

"There are very strict guidelines a person has to meet to get disability benefits. You can educate yourself on Social Security, but it is easy to miss deadlines for appeals, or you can get a decision that you think is in your best interest, but it is not. I’ve been on the inside. And I know that when people go before a judge in their hearing, an experienced Social Security attorney is far more likely to present and argue a case better than the average claimant."

Mr. Boyette takes personal satisfaction from helping clients try to get the benefits they may deserve.

"A lot of people are disabled but they don't fit within the strict guidelines the government imposes. Those are the individuals I enjoy helping the most. Even while at Disability Determination Services (DDS), I enjoyed advocating for the people who I felt deserved help the most."

Andrea Davis

Directly before joining the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin as a paralegal, Ms. Davis spent more than 10 years as a Disability Determination Services examiner for the Social Security Administration, where she determined the merits of initial applications for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

"I worked at Disability Determination Services for 10 years and I know the climate and how they operate. Examiners can make decisions a lot faster if they don't have to wade through a lot of unnecessary information. Having a lawyer, especially one who specializes in Social Security Disability, may make your case a whole lot easier to move through the system because lawyers know what's important in an application, and what can be left out."

Ms. Davis has an undergraduate degree in biology from North Carolina Central University and a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As an undergraduate, she worked as a pharmaceutical technician, where she gained an appreciation for the effect injuries, illnesses, and medications can have on a person's ability to work. Between undergraduate and graduate school, she worked directly with low-income clients for the Durham County Department of Social Services.

Kevin Midkiff

Before coming to the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, Mr. Midkiff spent six years as a Disability Determination Services examiner for the Social Security Administration, rising to Level II. As a Level II examiner, Midkiff not only determined the merits of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) initial applications, but was also active in the reconsideration process and conducting continuing disability reviews. As a paralegal who works directly with our Social Security Disability clients, he is now using his prior knowledge to try to help clients get the benefits they may deserve.

"Our attorneys and our entire Social Security Disability team in general have a lot of experience not only in the legal arena but within Social Security itself. Most of the folks we deal with are hardworking people whether from an illness or injury, can't work anymore, and just don't know how to advocate for themselves. What layperson would? The system is very complicated and cumbersome and you need experienced people to advocate on your behalf. I know. I’ve been on the other side.”

Sharee Wilson

Ms. Wilson is a paralegal who works with Social Security Disability clients. Before coming to the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, she worked as a Disability Determination Services examiner at the Social Security Administration, where she determined the merits of initial applications for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

“Working for Disability Determination Services was an eye-opening experience for me. I was able to see firsthand how hardworking people are often denied benefits they desperately need. I am thankful to now be on this side helping people fight this uphill battle. It is one of the most rewarding feelings ever, to help people every day. "

1 North Carolina State Bar, December 2016

2 To be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. Rising Stars undergo a rigorous, multiphase process which combines peer nominations with third-party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made annually on a state by state basis. While up to five percent of the lawyers in any state are named "Super Lawyers," by Super Lawyers Magazine, no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list. For more information regarding the rules for inclusion visit

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